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SOCIAL   AND    POLITICAL    LIFE          177
could ever shake him out of his dreams. You cannot go into Chinese homes, eat in Chinese restaurants and walk about in Chinese streets* and believe that a national or world disaster is coining. The Chinese always say of themselves that their nation is like "a tray of loose sands/5 each grain being, not an individual but a family. On the other hand^ the Japanese nation is (grammatically one says the Chinese nation are, but the Japanese nation is) welded together like a piece of granite. Perhaps this is a good thing. The next world explosion may blow up the granite, but can at best but disperse the sands. The sands will remain sands.
IV. PRIVILEGE AND EQUALITY
The Doctrine of Social Status, or the ideal of "every man in his place/5 cuts through the idea of equality in a curious way* and it is important to see this point in order to understand the whole spirit of Chinese social behaviour,, both good and bad. The humanist temper is one emphasizing distinctions of all kindss distinctions between men and women (resulting in the seclusion of women, as we have seen), between ruling authority and subjects, and between the old and the young. Confucianism always imagined itself as a civilizing influence going about preaching these distinctions and establishing social order. It hoped to bind society together by a moral force, by teaching benevolence in the rulers and submission in the ruled, kindliness in the elders and respect for old age in the young^ "friendliness" in the elder brother, and humility in the younger brother. Instead of social equality, the emphasis is rather on sharply defined differentiation,, or stratified equality. For the Chinese word for the five cardinal relationships, lun, means equality within its class.
Such a society is not without its charms and graces. The respect for old age, for instance, is always something touching, and Professor A. E. Ross has noted that tie old man in China is a most imposing figure, more dignified and good to look at than the old men in the West, who are made to feel in every way that they have passed the period of their usefulness and